Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about "all," "every," and "each."
I'm going to share some differences in how we use these words and a lot of example sentences.
So, let's get started!
Okay, I want to begin this lesson by talking about "all."
"All" is a word we use to mean "100% of something." We can use all with the plural form of a noun.
So, let's look at some example sentences with "all."
The first one…
"All students must purchase the textbook.
"All students." So here, I've used "students," the plural form of student.
"All students must purchase the textbook."
This might be on like the class outline for like a course of some kind at a school.
"All students must purchase the textbook."
In other words, 100% of students must purchase the textbook. In this case, "students" means students in this course or students taking this course. All students in the course must purchase the textbook.
Let's look at the next example.
"All the gorillas escaped the zoo."
So this is a strange example sentence, but here, you might notice, yes, I've used the plural form, "all the gorillas" yes again, S-form, or rather plural form here.
"All the gorillas escaped the zoo."
So, lots of students ask why "the" here, no "the" here.
We use "the" as you'll see in these other example sentences when we want "to refer to something specific to the situation that we know about from like prior to the sentence." So before the sentence, we had some information.
So here, of course, it's an example sentence, so we don't have information, but this is something you might see in the news. So, as a reporter or someone is sharing information about a story, they give a small detail like "gorillas" in this case. And then we want to talk about those same gorillas later in the conversation, we would use "the," "all the gorillas," so those gorillas we talked about earlier in the conversation. So that's why you'll see "the" used sometimes and not used in other times like here.
Like I could say, "All the students in the class must purchase the textbook." That's okay. We just need to make sure we use "the" when the person reading or listening understands, like which noun you're talking about. So this is an example of how it might be used. So, "all" meaning "100%," "100% of the gorillas in this situation escaped the zoo."
Let's move on to the next sentence which also uses "the."
"We weren't able to recover all of the files."
So here, "all" connects with "files," again, the plural form, files. So again, "all of the files" or we weren't able to recover all the files is also okay. You can drop this "of" if you like, but you may hear it.
So again, we're using "the files." So in this situation, the "we" here, they're trying to recover like regain or find something that's lost or damaged. So, what are they looking for? These files in particular. So, there's some understanding between the speaker and listener here and the speaker in this case, "we," they want to indicate these files specifically. We weren't able to recover all of the files, so the files we were talking about in the previous conversation, for example.
Okay, finally…
"All 15 of the students graduated."
So again, I'm using "students" here. In this case, I have "the." So, "All 15 students graduated" is also okay. It's just a small nuance in conversation. If you're talking maybe in a new story about 15 students who made a special project together or something maybe interesting happened to the students or maybe they had a terrible experience, but you want to report those same 15 students graduated, all 15 of the students graduated, you would use "the" to talk about those same students you introduced earlier in your conversation. So, saying something like all 15 students graduated is also okay, but we use "the" to really emphasize those students we referred to earlier. So we use "all" to refer to "100% of (something)" and we use it with the plural form of a noun, as we've shown here.
Okay, so with this in mind, let's continue to "every."
"Every" then. "Every" is used to talk about "all parts in a group." So yes, it means all of (something), but we want to talk about all in terms of the parts of that thing. So, I'll show some examples of this in just a moment. We use "every" with the singular form of a noun. We use "all" with the plural form. We're going to use "every" with a singular form of a noun.
"Every" also has this use. We can use it before a time period to express frequency. So for example, "every day," "every month," "every year," "every summer." That expresses frequency, so 100% of days, 100% of summer, you can imagine it, it has that meaning. We cannot use all in this way.
Finally, we can use "every" with "single" for emphasis.
"Every single (something)" like "Every single…" and we'll see some examples of this.
A couple of points I want to mention here.
First, let's look at this one.
Regarding this time period point, make sure when you're writing that you use a space after every. So when you write "every day" for example, I've noticed this is a point for many learners. When you write "every day" make sure to write "every (space) day." Why? Because "everyday" is an adjective, so without, without a space here, "everyday." "Everyday" is an adjective, so that means regular or common or something that's typical. So for example, "What are your everyday activities?" or "This is an everyday task" meaning a regular or common task.
So please be careful, "everyday" and "every day" have different functions, so please keep this in mind.
Okay, with that said, let's take a look at some examples.
First one…
"Every (single) person in our class failed the test."
Here, I have "single" in parenthesis, so this is just sort of like an optional emphasis expression, "every (single) person." Here, I have the singular. I talked about how we have to use the singular person here.
"Every (single) person in our class failed the test."
That means, we want to emphasize the individual people in the class. So yes, this means 100% of people, but when I really want to emphasize the individuals there as parts of this whole, I use every and this adds to that emphasis, every single.
Okay, let's move on to the next one.
Here, "Every team member has his or her own specialty."
So again, I'm using the singular form, "every team member."
So here, we have a team, so we know that it's a group of people and we want to talk about the individuals in that group as parts of the whole. So every team member has his or her own special team. I use "every" to talk about that, I could use "single" here if I wanted to, "every single team member" and that would make it sound even stronger, but we use this to emphasize, again, parts in a whole.
Okay, the next example sentence is…
"We go jogging together every weekend."
So this "every" is this time period one, this frequency one that I talked about. We go jogging together every weekend. So "every"comes before my time period. This means 100% of weekends, we go jogging together.
"We go jogging together every weekend."
We could change this to "every summer" or "every Tuesday" or "every day," for example. But again, make sure to keep a space between every and the following word, especially when you're using "day."
Okay, finally…
"I listened to music every single day."
So again, I'm using this as a frequency expression. I listen to music every day. I can use "single" here as well, so I'm emphasizing every day in this case. I really want to make it clear, like I love music, so I listen to it every single day, like without fail. So, we can combine this frequency expression "every (something)" with a "single" to emphasize.
Okay, great! So, this is an introduction to "every."
Let's move on now to "each."
So each is used again, similar to "every" when we want to talk about the "individual units in something." So, the slight difference in feeling here is that when we're using "every," we're talking about "parts in a whole," so like every team member, for example, or every student in the class. There's some whole like some larger group, we can imagine. With "each," yes, there may be is, like a larger group, but we really want to "focus on individuals." We really want the emphasis to be on the individual unit of something.
Second point, we use "each" when there are "only two of something."
So, I'll show you some examples of when this can be important, but if there are only two of the thing you're talking about, use each to describe that, not "every," okay.
Finally, we can use this "with the plural and the singular forms of nouns," so both are okay and there are a few different patterns that we can take.
Finally, you might see this expression "each and every."
"Each and every" is a set phrase. We cannot use "every and each." We don't use that. Please use "each and every." We use this before a noun or, again, we could use this before like a day or weekend to emphasize, so this another emphasizing phrase, "each and every," okay.
Let's look at some examples of using "each."
"Each of the computers crash."
So this could mean two computers and both of them crashed, that could mean it, or it could mean like each computer in like a computer lab crashed. We could use it in that way.
So, sentences like this, maybe don't always give all the information. We need to know a little bit about the situation, but this is an example of how we could use each with a plural noun.
"Each of the computers crashed."
We cannot say, "Each computers crashed."
We could say, "Each computer crashed," but we cannot say, "Each computers crash." Each of the computers is okay.
Okay, next one…
"Each one of the companies donated to charity."
That means in some situation, like an event, for example, and all of the companies that attended the event, so each one of those companies, we want to emphasize the individual companies there, so each one of the companies donated to charity. So again, I'm using the plural form. So, I could say, "each company donated to charity" as well. That's okay.
All right, let's move on to some more examples with the singular form.
So, "Each person helped clean the park."
So maybe, it's a volunteer organization and many people come and you can say "each person helped clean the park." So again, emphasizing the individuals there.
"Marathon participants will each receive a T-shirt."
So that means if you participate in the marathon, you will receive a T-shirt and that's true for 100% of marathon participants.
So, we could use maybe "all" to talk about this or maybe even "every" to talk about these situations. We would just need to make some changes.
Like for example, "All marathon participants will receive a T-shirt" is okay as well or what's another good example? Like "All of the companies donated to charity." That's okay too. So, the difference in those cases is just that "each" gives more emphasis to an individual. "All" is more about like a large number of something."
So to finish this lesson, I want to look at a few example sentences and point out why they're natural or unnatural, so I hope that this helps you.
First, actually, we have very similar.
First one, the sentence is okay.
"She wears earrings on each ear."
So, I've used "each" in this sentence and it sounds natural because there are only two. In most situations, I think, people probably have just two ears. So "each" means one, two, both of them. She wears earrings on each ear sounds very natural.
The next example sentence is not natural though.
"She wears earrings on every ear."
This sounds strange because "every" is used to refer to part of a group. So, we use two for each and we only have two ears, for most of us, so "every" refers to something with like more than two. In this case, it sounds really strange because we don't expect someone to have more than two ears, so "every" sounds bizarre. I don't recommend it.
Same thing with the next one…
"She wears earrings on all ears."
So again, "all" refers to a large number of (something).
So, "all ears" does not sound natural because we have just two ears. So, in cases like these like maybe you're talking about body parts, for example, it's going to sound much more natural to use "each" when you're talking about something, you have only two "of."
However, let's go on to these next three sentences which all sounds natural.
"She wears a ring on every finger."
This sentence sounds fine because, for most people, we have 10 fingers. It's a large number and so we want to say, in this case, "she wears a ring," so one ring on every finger, so we're emphasizing these individual parts of the whole, of all of our fingers, this group that is our fingers.
The next one is also natural.
"She wears rings on all her fingers."
You might hear some people drop "her," "She wears rings on all fingers." So that means, we're emphasizing like the total here. So we're not talking so much about the individual fingers, but just all.
"She wears rings on all her fingers."
"She wears a ring on each finger," is also okay to use.
So she wears a ring on each finger, if you really want to emphasize one by one, these individual fingers. So this one has the strongest feeling of like individuality, one by one. "Every" would be next. "She wears a ring on every finger" and then when you want to emphasize like a group feeling, "She wears rings on all her fingers."
So just keep in mind, sentences like these are definitely not natural and I don't recommend you use them because it's going to sound really strange. So, try to focus on sentences like these. I hope that this helps you.
Okay, but if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let us know in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Wednesday at 08:59 AM
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Hello Ryo,

Thanks for writing to us.

Your first sentence, you understood correctly. Your second sentence means she is wearing at least one earring on each ear, although it doesn't specify how many as the plural 'earrings' is used. So yes, she could have more than one earring on each ear.

If it was just one per ear, you would say "She wears an earring on each ear."

I hope this helps. 😄👍



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Sunday at 11:39 AM
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It's a little difficult to use "each", because "each" can be used with plural and singular forms.

Please tell me whether my understandings about 2 sentences in this lesson are correct.

" She wears a ring on each finger." means that there are total 10 rings, and 1 ring is set to 1 finger ?

" She wears earrings on each ear." means that she has more than 3 earrings, and 1 or 2 rings are set to 1 ear ?

(for example, the right ear has 2 rings, and the left ear has 1 ring.)

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 08:01 PM
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Hello @Medi and @Omar,

Thank you both for your comments.

@Medi - Yes, we use plural forms for when there is 'all' - '100%' of the people/items/things. We use singular forms when we are speaking about individuals.

@Omar - You would have to use the plural form to speak 'all' of the team members. E.g. 'team members.'

I hope this makes sense and is helpful to you.



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Monday at 07:53 AM
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So, we should use singular forms of verbs for everybody, plural forms for all?

Thanks in advance

Monday at 05:54 AM
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if iwant to use all in the same example instead of every could it be

instead of say every team member can isay all team member with indeedother changes in the sentence

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Saturday at 09:14 PM
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Hi Ricardo,

Thank you for taking the time to leave us your comment. 😇

If you ever have any questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


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Friday at 11:20 PM
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Perfect! Thank you Alisha!

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 09:53 PM
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Hi simone,

Thank you for taking the time to leave us your kind comment. 😇

If you ever have any questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


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Friday at 08:18 PM
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it is a good lesson.😄👍

thanks Alicia you are a great english teacher